TOBY MIZZI, COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST, STRONG MINDS PSYCHOLOGY
Last week, we provided a brief introduction into mindfulness. Another way of understanding mindfulness is that is represents the opposite to “mindlessness”. Mindlessness refers to being distracted and unaware of our current experiences; it is a sense of being on auto-pilot where we have an experience without really bringing any sense of focussed attention or awareness to what we are doing.
Mindlessness also occurs when we respond to events automatically, without taking the time to notice our inner experience and consider how to respond. Think about how you might respond to someone when you are in a relaxed mood compared to how you might respond if you are tired and stressed. Think about those times where you respond to a difficult moment with a response that is reactive, with no awareness of how your current emotional state is influencing your response. If you stop now and think about your day so far, how much focussed attention have you bought to the various activities you have engaged in? Were you fully present when you ate your breakfast? Driving to work? For those of you with children, how mindful were you when helping them get ready for their day? Chances are, a lot of what you have done so far today has lacked a sense of present moment awareness. This is particularly true in times of stress (e.g., when we are rushing against the clock to get ready in time). These are examples of mindlessness; a lack of awareness and a sense of not being fully connected with the moment.
Mindlessness isn’t bad; being completely mindful of every moment throughout every day is unrealistic and in some cases, potentially unhelpful. The aim is to find ways to incorporate more mindfulness into your day in order to help you and the others in your life. As a task for this week, try and bring a bit more mindfulness to your day. Pick an activity and give it your full awareness, taking notice of the experience in as much detail as possible. For example, you might choose to bring your full attention to eating one of your meals throughout the day. In doing so, you might go through all of the major five senses (sight, taste, smell, feel, sound) whilst you eat. We often scoff down our food in a very mindless way, oftentimes not even noticing when we are full. Bring a bit of mindfulness to your eating and compare this experience to how you normally eat.
About the Author:
Toby shares his time between the Strong Minds Psychology team, Swinburne University, and his young family. He is passionate about providing individualised support, and empowering people to enhance their mental health. Toby provides counselling and therapy for children, adolescents, adults and couples – helping with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, relationship difficulties, grief &loss, and family conflict. Mindful Mondays will be a regular blog on our website and Facebook page.
If you would like to discuss how the Strong Minds Psychology team can support your mental health needs, complete the form below or call us on 0417 389 941.
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